th11 150x150 School shopping and other topics.Haven’t started your back-to-school shopping yet? You’re not alone.

According to the National Retail Federation, 44.5% of parents will shop from three to four weeks before school starts. Another 25.4% will wait until one or two weeks before the first day of classes.

Despite the rising cost of basics like food, fuel and utilities, we will be shopping. That NRF survey indicates that combined K-12 and college spending will reach just under $75 billion in the United States this year.

However, we’ll be pickier about how and where we buy. For example:


read more

th4 What Im writing, and a TweetChat that might pay.A regular feature on the Get Rich Slowly blog is “Ask the Readers.” Last week’s question was “How can we improve Get Rich Slowly?

Imagine my preenery when a handful of readers replied, “Bring back Donna Freedman.”


read more

th1 Wealthy people think you could live on less. Here’s a piece of advice from the rich: You ought to be able to live comfortably on $25,000 to $50,000 per year.

This was one of the takeaways from the Country Financial Security Index, a survey of about 3,000 U.S. residents published a few months ago. More than half (55 percent) of the respondents consider themselves “middle-class,” even though some of them made incomes of as much as $200,000 a year.

Depending on where you live, $200k might not be enough to live on, at least comfortably. Which brings us to another result, something called the survey authors call the “comfort gap.” Nearly half of the respondents believe that $50,000 to $100,00 is enough to live comfortably. Yet only 34 percent consider the people who earn such incomes to be “financially well-off.”

Sure, they may have nice stuff. But actual security? Not gonna happen on that salary.

And here’s the part that concerns me: More than half of the respondents who described themselves as “wealthy” believe that an individual could live comfortably on $25,000 to $50,000 a year.


read more

DONNA F For the best FinCon14 price, book by Monday night.Once again I’ve been chosen to present a program at the Financial Blogger Conference, which takes place Sept. 18-20 in New Orleans.

According to the organizer, Phil Taylor, I’m apparently the only person who’s been involved all four years. So I guess it’s really not just me who likes to hear myself  talk.

The “early bird” pricing ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 30. So if you’re a blogger or want to be one, sign up now for the best deal (more on that in a minute).

Or just attend because you’re intrigued by personal finance and/or would like to hear writers talk about what they do.


read more

th4 Ally Bank might give you $100.I figured that would get your attention. The $100 in question comes in the form of Amazon scrip, and two such gift cards will be given away during Ally’s monthly TweetChat on June 24.

That’s tomorrow, in case you aren’t keeping track. The topic is one with which all of us could use some schoolin’.

“Protecting Yourself Online” is just what it sounds like: the latest on security and how to protect your identity and your digital assets. As the Ally wonks note, you wouldn’t give your car keys to a stranger or leave your home’s windows and doors open – yet plenty of us are fairly unguarded online.

According to Consumer Reports, 62 percent of U.S. citizens have done nothing to protect themselves when using the Internet. That’s understandable, since digital security can be a very confusing topic – and since well-publicized data breaches make it look as though no one can really guard against determined hackers.


read more